GorT, and many others before him have discussed the 'Cass Sunstein' method of government nudging individuals to behave in the manner that they see fit.
Given the strong resistance to Obamacare, Dr. J. hopes to see a ramp up in attacks on the legislation after the Republicans have a nominee. As a parenthetical, he would very much like to see people stop calling it the Affordable Care Act, because neither affordability or care are involved in the legislation.
Nevertheless, the Obama Administration has given up subtlety with regard to implementing its Orwellian healthcare vision, beginning with the HHS Mandate (aka attack on religious organizations that do anything beyond preach on Sundays, Saturday nights and for some, Wednesday and Friday nights). This is not about that particular crosscheck to the head, but another one.
For those not in the know, soldiers and retired career military personnel are eligible for Tricare health insurance. Tricare is kick-ass health insurance for kick-ass individuals. Given what our military does for us day in and day out, and what our career military have given above and beyond those who served for a short time, the ability to participate in this program is the least we can do to repay them for their service.
As a consequence, this article from the Free Beacon made Dr. J.'s blood boil.
Basically, Obama, in his proposed budget wants to pay for military cuts in part by increasing the out of pocket costs of Tricare for military families and retirees from 30-78% in year 1 resulting in 94-345% increases over a 5 year period.
It also cuts benefits such as drug costs. Right now, Dr. J. has a patient on Tricare who pays $9 for 9 months of Pradaxa (Dabigatran Etexilate) for his atrial fibrillation. He is a high risk patient who enjoys a significant clinical benefit from this drug over warfarin. So, if he can't afford to stay on Pradaxa, he will be switched to Coumadin with a concomitant increase in stroke risk. He really can't afford the $30-60 a month copay without such coverage.
Clearly he hopes that the increasing their share of the expenses will coerce them into participating in Obamacare alternatives.
Adding insult to injury, President Obama's budget makes no similar concession for civilian Federal (read UNION) employees and retirees who also have good health insurance plans. Indeed most Federal retirees pay the same out of pocket expense for health insurance that their active co-workers do.
Now you are probably saying to yourself, "Dr. J., you are a big time fiscal hawk, you want spending cuts, and you hate insane retirement benefits, so aren't you just a hypocrite!??!?!!ELeVeNtY!!!?!!"
While Dr. J. is fundamentally against inappropriate (Federal, State and Local) government spending, especially with regard to unsustainable pensions, national defense is the number one job of the Federal Government.
We can afford generous retirement packages that include health insurance and pensions for a select few individuals. Those individuals are people who have made a career of putting themselves in harms way on behalf of our nation, state and municipality, specifically the US Armed Forces, State and local Police departments and firemen.
We can't afford are unrealistic so-called entitlement programs that have not kept up with life expectancies and birth rate declines, farm subsidies, Abortifacients Uber Alles, green energy subsidies, pensions and healthcare benefits for every lucky SOB who was able to land himself or herself a guv'mint job loafing on the taxpayers time (and there are probably two of them working for the government, for every one legitimate employee).
If there are concerns regarding sustainablity, then the rules should be tweaked for those entering those career fields, but not those already serving. Perhaps 25 years instead of 20 to count as 'career.' Perhaps the pension should not activate until 65 or so. But this shouldn't be done for actives.
Fortunately, this budget will not see the light of day thanks to the 'Coolidge' Republicans in the House and Senate.
The Obama budget is not a serious proposal, but what it shows is who President Obama is, and that is someone who does not respect or appreciate those who have served on the frontlines to keep him and all of us free.
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